School Inclusiveness and the Degree of Development of Students’ Civic Competence Ljiljana Jerković and Mile Ilić
Summary: This paper presents an empirical study on the relationship between school inclusiveness and students’ civic competence conducted on a representative sample of students and teachers from the Banja Luka region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It discusses the effect of school inclusiveness on students’ civic competence, a key lifelong learning competence as defined by the EU. Earlier studies focusing on either inclusive education or citizenship education helped to conceptualise this study. Contrary to expectations, students’ and teachers’ perception of the key components of primary education differed considerably. In-class teaching, student-teacher rapport, communication at school, the school setting, and school overall were seen as inclusive by students at a below average rate and at an above average rate by teachers, while both perceived extracurricular activities as the most inclusive. Consistent with earlier studies, students performed better on assessments of civic knowledge compared to civic skills and dispositions. A significant correlation was found between students’ civic competence and their perception of the inclusiveness of most of the components of primary education. The paper points to possible reasons for such results, which require further research, and the possibilities for making primary school more inclusive on scientific grounds, thus enhancing the quality of primary education overall and facilitating students’ acquisition of civic and other lifelong learning competences.